Children under one to receive free pneumococcal vaccine soon: BMC
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Wednesday said it is soon going to administer the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) to children below one year of age to protect them from pneumococcal infections. According to a BMC release, the vaccine is useful for protecting children from pneumonia and pneumococcal diseases and it will be given free at the civic body's health centers, dispensaries, and hospitals.
Over 1.5L children under BMC's jurisdiction will get the vaccine
Pneumococcal infections are caused by the bacterium streptococcus pneumoniae and can lead to pneumonia, blood poisoning (sepsis), and meningitis. "The number of children under the age of one in the BMC's jurisdiction is more than 1.5 lakh. All these children will benefit from this vaccine," said Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, BMC.
PCV will be given in three doses
The PCV will be given in three doses—two primary doses at six weeks of age and 14 weeks, followed by one booster dose at nine months. Under the extended vaccination program, vaccines for preventing BCG, polio, whooping cough, tetanus, hepatitis-B, H influenzae-B, rotavirus, measles, and rubella were being given, but now as per the Maharashtra government's directive, PCV has been added to the list.
One lakh children died due to pneumococcal infections in 2010
According to the BMC, in 2010, approximately one lakh children below the age of five died due to pneumococcal diseases. In the same year, five to six lakh children were diagnosed with pneumococcal infections. Notably, the training for the vaccination program has already been imparted.
Here are the symptoms of pneumococcal disease
"Pneumococcal is a lung disease caused because of infection from streptococcus pneumonia bacterias. The disease causes difficulty in breathing, shortness of breath, fever, and coughing. If the infection is severe, it can lead to death from meningitis, pneumonia, and septicemia," the BMC said. It said the Government of India has made PCV available under the public immunization program to protect children from pneumococcal diseases.